Travel to Japan – Japanese Toilets

15 Jan

Japanese toilets are even more amazing than what they have done with toilet paper holders.

First there is your ordinary old style toilet. You squat over it to use it. This one has toilet paper.

Japanese people carry their own toilet paper with them, in a small packet, like tissues. They believe the responsibility for having toilet paper rests with the user. While we have people handing out fliers on the street, they hand out toilet paper packets with advertising on them.

In some places there are toilets very much like ours. Often where there are old style toilets, there will be one Western style toilet, if you are willing to wait for it to be freed up.

Then there are toilets like ours with the addition of a sink that drains its water into the tank to flush the toilet. So they use the water twice, once to wash your hands and later to flush the toilet.

Then there are the fancy toilets in hotels and museums and homes of the well to do.

These fancy toilets often have heated seats. They have a bidet like spray that can be angled to wash off male or female bottoms after toileting. The sprayer remains under the seat until it is needed. Some have warm air blowers to dry you off. They have different control panels. Some let you control the temperature and intensity of the water spay or the dryer.

In some homes that I was privileged to visit, the people have the bathroom out of the main activity area of the house. They plant scented vegetation outside the bathroom so the scent comes in the window. The bathroom can be a beautiful work of art.

Japanese have a separate pair of slippers that are worn only in the toilet area.

I’m sold. I want a fancy toilet although I must admit I was in Japan a long time before I dared try the controls. Who knows what I might have done to myself?

© 2010 Jeanne Litt, All rights reserved.


Posted by on January 15, 2010 in Japan


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11 responses to “Travel to Japan – Japanese Toilets

  1. blkdrama

    January 16, 2010 at 2:52 am

    This is very cool. I go with the fancy too. I remember carrying toilet paper in China and some toilets were strange, holes in the floor. I like the Japanese approach. What about the masses of people. Were there long lines for women?

    • purplume

      January 16, 2010 at 10:06 pm

      Hi Bonnie,
      We had long lines because I was in a tour group of 30 or 40 people. When we found a bathroom, there were a lot of us. It varied widely but often there were 3 or 4 of the old style toilets, (hole in the ground) and one western style. At first, I used to wait for the western style, but soon I went Japanese and then there wasn’t much wait.

  2. AmyH

    January 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    very interesting.

  3. Myfanwy

    January 17, 2010 at 8:34 am

    It does us good to see how it is done in other parts of the world – whatever ‘it’ is. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. tony

    January 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Japanese women have otohime in the toilet, whilst Japanese men have Toirettsu games! Gotta love Japan!

  5. Liz Decker

    November 14, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I was fortunate to have lived in Japan for 3 years when I was 19-21. Lived in a Japanese house and community with what I called an “indoor outhouse”! My favorite keepsake from Japan was an old blue and white planter that I found at the neighborhood dumping site. Proudly displayed it on my front porch with a potted plant, and surprised no one tried to walk off with it. However, later I learned that it was an antique urinal, which explained why my neighbors looked at my house in a strange, but polite manner. Loved living in Japan and treasure my memories and experiences.

    • purplume

      November 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Funny Liz. I love those blue and white ceramic pieces.Yes you were fortunate to live in Japan.XD

      • Liz Decker

        November 25, 2012 at 11:49 am

        One more adventure to share….While traveling to the southern island area of Japan on my honeymoon, my husband and I decided we would experience a public bath at a beautiful resort. The first night we had it all to ourselves and had a wonderful time. The next evening we decided to go back again. This time it was very steamy and I could see that this would be a true “public” bath. Believing in living like the locals and enjoying the full experience, I straightened my spine and walked in, trying to look nonchalant……unfortunately, I couldn’t read the sign “Men’s Night Only”! That’s when I truly learned what “saving face” meant and stayed in the pool until the last man left, which seemed like an eternity. Though it was embarrassing at the time, I this memory makes me laugh.


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